September 20, 2011
Normally we'll open the Tuesday notes post with details from the Monday nighter, but Rams-Giants didn't do much for me. We'll get to Manningham in a bit, don't worry. If you're looking to pick up Danario Alexander(notes) off his 122-yard performance, I get it. But I'd still prefer Denarius Moore(notes), David Nelson(notes) or Eric Decker(notes) if you're adding receivers. There's a long, complicated medical history with Alexander (left knee issues, many surgeries), and the other guys have at least as much upside.
Anyway, we have injuries to discuss, so let's waste no more time on Rams...
Dallas injuries piling up: I can pretty much guarantee that I would take a few days off from blogging if I punctured a lung, so it's difficult to comprehend Tony Romo's(notes) willingness to quarterback an NFL team while pneumothorax'd. That's crazy. If you own him, awesome news. The Cowboys host Washington on Monday night in Week 3, and it would be a shock if Romo didn't start. Felix Jones(notes) (shoulder) sounds like he may play as well, but Dallas will likely be without Miles Austin(notes) (hamstring), perhaps for multiple weeks. Dez Bryant(notes) will need to contribute, because Kevin Ogletree(notes) is not the answer.
All my flexes live in Texas: Ben Tate(notes) owners, take a victory lap. Arian Foster(notes) dealt with fatigue and hamstring tightening on Sunday, so Tate has emerged as a must-start. Here's Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, via the Houston Chronicle:
"[Tate]'s playing really well," Kubiak said. "As we work Arian back into what we're doing and get him back to full speed, Ben's going to probably carry most of the load."
Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said Monday that Vick's concussion barely registered on a baseline brain test he took at the Georgia Dome not long after the incident.
"He was pretty close," Burkholder said. "I'm not going to give you numbers, but he was pretty close."
Reid said that when he spoke with Vick on the plane ride home from Atlanta and quizzed him, "He remembered everything, recalled everything."
If Vick can't go, it's the Mike Kafka(notes) show. He wasn't a disaster on Sunday, but the Giants pass rush can be a difficult test, and Kafka would obviously have to deal with the same O-line that's making Vick owners nervous.
The single greatest pseudo-rumor in the history of professional tackle football: Jeff George, you're welcome to return any time — you and your glorious mullet/mustache combo.
Messy Monday for Mario: Suddenly, Hakeem Nicks(notes) is the healthiest member of the Giants' receiving corps. Mario Manningham(notes) (concussion/neck) and Domenik Hixon(notes) (knee/calf) were both dinged in Week 2. Hixon's issue doesn't sound too serious just yet is reportedly a season-ender, a torn ACL. Brutal. Manningham presents the usual post-concussion worries, in a shortened week. If Mario let you down in the match-up with St. Louis, feel free to complain in comments. He somehow turned a potential long TD reception into a concussion, which we don't see every day.
Let's dial down the Bengals love: I understand the desire to say nice things about Cincinnati's offense, following the big performances by Andy Dalton(notes) and AJ Green(notes). I get it, honest. Green is legit, a serious asset. He was clearly stressing Cleveland's defense in the opener, even when he wasn't catching passes. But let's just remember that in Week 2, the Broncos defense was dealing with injuries at every level, lacking its most talented players. If that's again the case this Sunday, you'll see huge days from Matt Hasselbeck(notes), Kenny Britt(notes) and (finally, perhaps) Chris Johnson. The Denver Post's Jeff Legwold gives us this nugget: "It would be a shock if the Broncos got [Champ] Bailey and Elvis Dumervil(notes) back in the lineup this week."
Shanahan (hearts) Helu: Following Roy Helu's(notes) 13-touch, 112-yard performance against Arizona, Mike Shanahan had a few nice words for his rookie running back:
"When you've got a guy like Helu, you don't know why guys make plays, but the great ones do," Shanahan said. "I think Helu is giving people ideas that he can make plays."
I'll be a bit surprised if Helu's role doesn't expand in the weeks ahead, costing Tim Hightower(notes) a handful of carries. But even if Helu plateaus right here, as a guy who gets 8-14 touches, he's an ownable player. More details right here, with fantasy spin.
Stevie Johnson(notes) hurting, not out: Yup, Johnson is still dealing with a troublesome groin tweaking, and the injury seemed to limit him in the win against Oakland. But the good news for fantasy purposes is that No. 13 has no immediate plans to rest:
"Right now I feel like it's something I'm going to have to play through," he said. "When I'm out there, it'll hurt, but I'll still be giving it my all."
Johnson was in and out of the lineup on the Bills' final drive against the Raiders, but he attributed that more to cramping in his legs.
As if Shonn Greene(notes) needed another red flag: Jets center Nick Mangold(notes) suffered a high ankle sprain in the win against Jacksonville, so he's at risk of sitting out a game or two. The Raiders are next up on the schedule, and that match-up had seemed so friendly for Shonn. The Mangold situation complicates things, however. And it complicates my ongoing Greene trade negotiations with Mr. Pianowski.
Sean Payton explains his backfield: OK, I realize that many of you are troubled by the New Orleans rushing attack. But if you've invested in Darren Sproles(notes), you've turned an early profit, and it sounds like his role is firmly established.
This from the Times-Picayune:
"[The backfield split] is something we think about a lot, too," Payton said. "If you separate Darren's role a little bit, if you start with some nickel packages and a little bit of this 'lighting' term we use where we're wanting him specifically on the field much like with Reggie. I don't want to say that's easy, but that becomes the easy part of the equation. So if we can establish that we have a package that involves Sproles both in the nickel and in the base, then I think the bigger trick is coming up with a ways between Pierre and Mark. We try to give them some semblance of a rhythm, too, maybe a couple of series at a time."
Again: Sproles is the easy part of the equation. What you've seen in the first two weeks (15 catches, 142 total yards) is what you'll see all year. The balancing act is with Mark Ingram(notes) and Pierre Thomas(notes). I'd buy low on the rookie, if possible. He's put a pair of tough run defenses behind him, and the schedule is about to get friendlier.
Prepare for the two-Gronkowski formation: Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez(notes) suffered an MCL sprain in Week 2, and the reported recovery time lines are ... well, they're all over the place. Could be two weeks, or it could be six. The team probably has a pretty good idea, but the Pats never tell us anything.
Photo via US Presswire
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